Moab, Utah

Flying J Travel Center, Rocker, MT

9/20 I wrote this at a Flying Pilot J truck stop near Butte, MT before falling asleep.
9/9 Hi all, back to reality of traveling. I have been in Utah for the last 2 weeks hiking, exploring and taking lots of photos. After leaving Yellowstone, I drove to Salt Lake City, UT for van service. Driving down I-15 through Idaho was relaxing, as I stopped at one of the most well kept rest stops at a lava formation. There were a couple of short trails and I hiked to stretch my legs.
Once I entered Utah, the weather changed and I was stuck in traffic. At one point a camper and truck were lying on the road, flipped over, after apparently hitting a deer. Wow! I hope everyone was OK. Then, the winds swept in and a dust storm made visibility difficult. The winds were really bad most of the way, and I had to really concentrate to keep the van under control from swaying around. Finally, I arrived at the hotel and had to park in the alley because the garage had a low clearance. That worked out fine for me. The next day, I went to the dealer and their power was out, so I had to leave the van there so they could work on it when the power was restored. The wind was recorded at about 90 mph. What a mess! I got a ride to the hotel and was holed up there for the entire day. There were broken tree branches everywhere and it got cold, so I ended up going to the City Center Mall to buy a jacket. That was fine, because it was on sale. I found out that between the pandemic and riots that most of the stores had been closed until May. So sad…
The day after, I went back to the dealer and they managed to service everything except the recall and said that they would call me when the part came in (I had called ahead to check on this and was told that the part was there.) So I left and drove toward Moab.
I thought driving to Salt Lake City was bad. Fortunately, the weather was OK and I headed on I-15 to US6 going east. There is no such thing as no traffic in a city, but once I got on HWY 6 it lightened up a bit. The hills are gorgeous! It was a little hard to focus on driving when all I wanted to do was to stop and take pictures. Now I am not one to plan ahead much I stayed for 1 night before heading out again. This is definitely a return campground for me.
9/10 Off to Moab. Desert with temps in the 90’s. Then on to Arches National Park. Holy crap! The switch backs going to the park made driving the van a white-knuckle experience. The speed limit was 15 mph. My driving skills are improving every day. The first day was very cloudy, but I think I got some decent shots and the few hikes I took were easy. The views were so different from Yellowstone. It’s amazing how diverse the geology is from one state to another. I mostly drove around to get a feel for the place, since it’s a fairly small park and you can visit in a day depending on whether you stop to hike in any of the trails. My first resting place was on HWY 313 and I found a sketchy spot off the road where there were several boondockers. This was a rough, rocky road and backing into the spot was a challenge. But it worked for one night.
The sky cleared up the next day and I hiked many of the trails. For an old fart like me, here is what I did: Delicate Arch overlook, Park Avenue (didn’t hike in), Courthouse Towers, Balanced Rock, Garden of the Gods, The Windows, Garden of Eden, Devil’s Garden, Fiery Furnace overlook, Wolfe cabin, the Petroglyphs and the big mama of them all, Delicate Arch.
Now, I admit that traveling alone can be a satisfying experience, but I could have used a hand on some of the trails. Devil’s Garden was great and though it was afternoon, the arch was still quite the spectacle. This view is a sunrise one for photos and I thought about it. OK, here it is… I actually hiked the Delicate Arch trail, a mile and a half hike up about 400 ft on solid rock. What was I thinking???? Thank god for sturdy hiking shoes! The view was unbelievable! Would I do it again? Only if I’m with a group. The hike was plain old scary! I am not a mountain goat.
I was reading that stargazing there was a great activity so I decided to stay and rest at Panorama Point. It was fun because there were a lot of people with chairs on the pavement, and the couple next to me talked about photography, etc. I tool a lot of pix even with the pink fox face staring at me in the camera (a defect, I think). They left, and I thought that driving on those roads was too treacherous at night, so I stayed. I was going to spend the night there, but paranoia struck and I couldn’t fall asleep, so at 1:30am I left Panorama and started back. The only thing was that I needed to sleep and didn’t want to drive down the switchback in the middle of the night, and ended up parking again at Courthouse Towers. You know, I must have counted at least a dozen vehicles parked along the way and there were a couple in the lot I was in, too. So next time, I’ll sleep until a ranger knocks on my door.
9/12 Sand Flats Recreation Area is only a couple of miles away from Moab and the volunteer at the visitor center said it was a nice campground. (2 nights.)
9/13 Set off for a trail to hike and found Juniper Trail. It was a mountain goat activity, but I traversed the 1.9 mile loop safely.
9/14 Left the campground and drove to the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park. Stayed 3 nights at Hamburger Rock Campground, my favorite so far. This was a BLM campground, very primitive, but had vault toilets, fire pits and a picnic table. Plus I got half price with my Senior Discount. WooHoo! Note: BLM does not allow boondocking in undesignated campsites. There were some scattered around, but not many. They are having issues with human waste laying around. Pretty disgusting!
9/17 Canyonlands N.P. Island in the Sky section.
9/18 Canyonlands N.P. Island in the Sky section.
9/19 Drove back to Salt Lake City, stayed at a KOA campground in Pocatello, ID (very nice).
9/20 Drove to Butte, MT to catch I-90 east and to check out the city. Looked liked everything was closed, as it was Sunday. Couldn’t find a campground nearby that was free, and decided to go to a Flying J Travel Center (aka truck stop) to spend the night.

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